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Prison woes blamed on budget cuts

A damning report has branded a South Yorkshire prison as one of the worst in the country. A surprise inspection of Lindholme prison earlier this year found that many inmates were afraid and that alcohol and drugs were widely available.

Inspectors said the category D side of the prison had been neglected with no work or education available to prisoners. The D wing has since been closed and the prison says it is taking action to address the issues raised in the report.

Calendar's Christine Talbot spoke to Andrew Neilson from the Howard League for Penal Reform and started off by asking him what he thinks has gone wrong at Lindholme prison.

Prison report is " shocking' says Don Valley MP

Don Valley MP Caroline Flint has written to the Prisons Minister expressing her concer about the dmning report into Lindholme Prison.

“This report is truly shocking, " she said.

"The inspector describes this prison as a “depressing picture”. The impression is of lax security which enables drugs and alcohol to flourish; and a lack of concern over the health of prisoners or to bullying and victimisation by other prisoners and by staff.

“This follows just two months after a critical report on HMP/YOI Moorland – and both prisons are due to be put out to private sector management, with the Government aiming to save considerable sums of money.

“As the inspector suggests that a huge amount of work is required to bring the running of this prison up to an acceptable standard, and certain areas are highlighted as under-resourced, I don’t see how the Government can proceed with the current privatisation without reassurance that some resources will be directed to resolving this situation immediately.”

– Caroline Flint MP


Penal reform charity: building big prisons "makes no sense"

A penal reform charity says the closure of HMP Lindholme's D wing shows why building large prisons 'makes no sense'.

The wing was forced to shut after inspectors said it was one of the worst they had seen.

"This is the latest in a series of damning reports published by the prisons watchdog in recent weeks, following scathing inspections of establishments such as Ashfield, Thameside and Hewell. It is deeply disturbing that conditions appear to be getting worse and worse at prisons across the country.

"Prisoners at Lindholme feel in danger. Many have been victimised and bullied. There are signs of racial tension. And yet little has been done to address the prison's underlying safety issues.

"This is supposed to be a training prison, a place where inmates are given the skills they need to prepare for life in the world outside. But prisoners on the category D wing had nothing to do. The classrooms were empty and abandoned. The public deserve better than to have prisoners lying idle in their beds for up to 22 hours a day.

"This report shows in sharp detail why it makes no sense to build large jails. The government should focus on reducing the prison population instead."

– Frances Crook, Chief Executive of the Howard League for Penal Reform

Doncaster prison wing shut down after inspection

HMP Lindholme

A prison wing in Doncaster has been described as among the worst inspectors have seen.

After an unannounced visit, the category D wing of Lindholme Prison was described as "forgotten and neglected" due to a lack of funding.

The inspectors found religious tensions as well as freely-available drugs and alcohol on the wing, which has now been shut down.

The results are found in HM Inspectorate of Prisons' report on Lindholme prison, which is published today